A home network system allows multiple computers within a home to communicate with each other. This network allows for file, resource and Internet connection sharing. When home computers are connected to one central network, the computers can be run independently while maintaining a constant connection with other computers on the network.
File sharing on a home network system allows files to be accessed from any computer on the network. Computers can swap or exchange files and information including MP3s, pictures, and documents. Laptops, desktops, and mobile computers can all be a part of the home network system. Files can be protected, allowing only certain users to access or edit information. This is especially important for financial and personal records stored on home computers.
Resources may also be shared on home networks. These can include network printers and hard drive space. If one computer on the home network system has a large amount of available hard drive space, other computers can use that space to store files and information. This allows additional computers, that may have limited storage and fewer resources, to be added to and used on the home network system. An external hard drive can also be added to the system to provide backup space for all computers.
If a wireless network is installed on the home network system, all the computers can share an Internet portal, which typically alleviates the need for hard-wiring individual computers for online access. Shared Internet connections do not require all computers to view the same webpages at the same time. Each computer can work independently of the others on one network. Gaming through a home network can allow several people within a home to compete against each other while using shared Internet access.
Limitations can be placed on certain files and resources based upon needs of home network users. If children will have access to the network, parents may choose to limit kids' access to certain information. Internet access can also be restricted using the same type of parental or administrative controls.
When setting up a home network there are generally specific pieces of hardware needed, based upon the type of network chosen. Different types of home networks can be set up using Ethernet connections, wireless connections, or dial-up connections. If wireless home networks are installed, some computers may require a wireless card to access the home network. Laptop and desktop computers may require different wireless cards for Internet access.